STROKESTRA Stroke Rehabilitation through Creative Music-Making Pilot Programme Report

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Nicholson C, Rodio L, Wilson M

Year of Publication:

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


STROKESTRA is a pioneering collaboration between the Hull City Council Health & Wellbeing Board, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Hull Integrated Community Stroke Service (HICSS) which uses group creative music-making alongside professional musicians to drive patient-led stroke recovery in stroke survivors and their carers.

Beginning in December 2014 with an intensive Research & Development phase which brought together professional musicians and stroke therapists to devise appropriate musical techniques for use with stroke patients, a pilot programme involving a series of intensive projects took place in 2015. The pilot was designed to test the intrinsic value of these specially-designed creative music workshops for a wide range of stroke rehabilitation needs including improved sensation, mobility, strength, flexibility, cognitive function, socialisation, communication, wellbeing and more. From May to October 2015, a total of 50 patients and carers took part in 16 days of intensive project work during which they tried out instruments, listened to music, conducted musicians, improvised and created music alongside specially-trained world-class professional musicians, all supporting their work towards their stroke recovery goals.

Throughout the project, therapists and staff carried out a robust service evaluation utilising a variety of qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate changes in patients’ social, physical, functional, cognitive, communicative and psychological domains. Patients, carers and staff reported marked improvements in a number of areas such as social relationships, cognitive function, physical strength and stamina, better sleep, reduced anxiety, and overall wellbeing.

The evaluation also highlighted opportunities for improvement and growth in long-term future programmes, including: increased opportunities for speech and language therapy through the use of small group work, development of patient-led recruitment tools to reassure prospective patients, the expansion of musical activity to inpatients to assist the transition from rehabilitation units to home, and the integration of students from the University of Hull to support the development of local expertise and regular interim delivery.

Evidence Type: Non-Randomised Evaluation

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Specific Physical Health Condition

Art Forms: Music

APA Citation:

Nicholson, C., Rodio, L. & Wilson, M. (2016). STROKESTRA Stroke Rehabilitation through Creative Music-Making Pilot Programme Report. London: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.